The kidnapping trial of Sidney Moorer, charged in connection with the disappearance of Heather Elvis, entered its third day Wednesday.
A forensic expert testified he believed a truck seen on surveillance cameras headed to and from the area of Peachtree Boat Landing was Moorer’s. The last movements and activity of Elvis’ cellphone were further laid out for the jury as well, along with an exchange of text messages between Moorer and Elvis.
“Watching the video of the truck going by and wondering if your daughter is in the truck. … It’s traumatizing. The whole thing is traumatizing,” said Debbi Elvis, Heather Elvis’ mother, of hearing and seeing evidence in the trial after court wrapped for the day.
Court began Wednesday morning with Judge R. Markley Dennis accompanying the jury on a bus as they rode by the locations of surveillance cameras from a home and business off Mill Pond Road and S.C. 814.
Grant Fredericks, a forensic video analyst, studies headlight spread patterns and told the court it was his opinion the truck seen on surveillance footage was Moorer’s. However, Kirk Truslow, Moorer’s attorney, argued that his findings could be faulty and were ultimately inconclusive.
Will Lynch, a North Myrtle Beach police officer who was an officer with the 15th Circuit Drug Enforcement Unit when he worked on Elvis’ case, testified he assembled a report of text messages exchanged by Elvis and Moorer.
Messages between them indicated a relationship between Heather Elvis and Sidney Moorer, along with a fear of Tammy Moorer, Sidney’s wife, according to Lynch’s testimony.
Tammy Moorer is also charged with kidnapping Elvis, but has not had a trial date set.
At one point, Elvis asked when Moorer would have his phone back and the sender replied, identifying himself as Moorer. The message also stated he didn’t want to talk to her anymore and that their involvement was a mistake.
A message from Elvis’ phone replied back: “You knew what you were doing. It was no mistake. I understand that this can’t go on anymore. I just want to know that your wife isn’t going to show up at my job.”
Another message that followed from Elvis’ cellphone said: “I lost hours today because they sent me home after she kept calling.”
Sidney Moorer’s cellphone replied that Tammy Moorer had a boyfriend and didn’t care about Elvis, but was mad at him for lying, according to records shown in court.
The exchange went on and some of the messages were deleted from the phone, but were recovered from a computer belonging to Sidney Moorer, according to James Perry of the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office computer crimes division.
Some recovered messages, according to Perry’s testimony, said: “I’ve been having Sidney followed since January 2012.” Another message stated: “I’ll give you one last chance to answer me before we meet in person. Only one,” according to Perry’s report.
“Hey Sweetie, you ready to meet the missus,” another message from Moorer’s phone said, according to Perry’s report.
Perry testified some of the messages seemed threatening to him, but said during a cross-examination by the defense that he didn’t know who was in possession of the cellphones when the messages were sent and received.
Perry’s report was laid out before the jury at the end of the day. The first witness to testify Wednesday was Ronald Witt, a T-Mobile employee, who broke down how much correspondence was exchanged between Moorer and Elvis’ cellphones from July to December 2013.
Watching the video of the truck going by and wondering if your daughter is in the truck. … It’s traumatizing. The whole thing is traumatizing.
Debbi Elvis, Heather Elvis’ mother
The two contacted each other hundreds of times from July to October, but communication between them tapered off in November with none from Moorer in December and only six correspondences from Elvis, according to testimony.
Witnesses who were former co-workers of Elvis and Moorer’s at the former Broadway at the Beach Titled Kilt restaurant testified Monday that Elvis and Moorer’s involvement ended in October 2013.
Aaron Edens, an intelligence agent from Northern California, who was brought in by investigators as a cellphone forensics investigator, tracked the last movements of Elvis’ cellphone on Dec. 18, 2013 for the jury.
From about 1:13 a.m. to 2:31 a.m. her cellphone was at her home on White River Drive. She received a call from a Seaboard Street and a Mr. Joe White Avenue payphone in Myrtle Beach from Sidney Moorer, which lasted about five minutes, according to testimony.
Attorney Truslow has said during the trial that Moorer was contacting Elvis to tell her to stop leaving notes on his car. Surveillance footage presented in court Tuesday showed Moorer purchasing a pregnancy test and cigar at a Seaboard Street Wal-Mart, according to Amelia Bethea, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division agent.
Elvis’ cellphone contacted her out-of-town roommate Brianna Warrelmann and had a conversation for a little more than two minutes. She tried the payphone back multiple times, but it appeared she got no answer, according to Edens.
Her cellphone then traveled to Longbeard’s Bar and Grill in Carolina Forest and was there until 2:56 a.m. in what appeared to be the back parking lot area. The cellphone then traveled down Augusta Plantation Drive but headed back to Longbeard’s again and was there from 3:02 to 3:15 a.m., according to Edens testimony.
The phone went back to Elvis’ White River Drive home and at 3:16 a.m. and 3:19 a.m. called Sidney Moorer’s phone, had about a four-minute conversation, then headed toward Peachtree Landing at 3:25 a.m. and was at the Socastee-area boat landing at 3:37 a.m. At 3:42 a.m. the cellphone remained at the landing, though it was never found there and remains missing.
During a cross examination by Truslow, Edens said he never constructed reports tracking the movements of Sidney Moorer’s cellphone, or Stephen Schiraldi’s, who went on a date with Elvis Dec. 17, 2013 and dropped her off at her apartment around 1:15 to 1:30 a.m. on Dec. 18, 2013.
Moorer is also charged with obstruction of justice in connection with the case, but Dennis ruled June 14 to try that charge separately.
Sidney and Tammy Moorer were charged with murder in Feb. 2014, but the charges, along with indecent exposure charges, were dismissed for the couple in March. An obstruction of justice charge was also dismissed for Tammy Moorer.